Nevada Might be Next With 85 MPH Speed Limit

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Nevada Might be Next With 85 MPH Speed Limit

Travel times might be reduced soon in parts of Nevada if a new bill proposing an 85 mph speed limit becomes law.

On Monday, Nevada State Senator Don Gustavson introduced the bill, saying it would pave he way for a speed people driving in rural Nevava “are already doing out there anyway.” The top speed on Nevada’s rural highways is currently 70 mph, or 75 mph on interstates. Utah and Texas are currently the only two states with limited over 75 mph.

SEE ALSO: Texas Toll Road Gets 85 MPH Speed Limit

“Utah’s statistics show that the fatality rates in those areas with higher speed limits have actually gone down,” he told the Los Angeles Times. They thought that once it went up, the death toll would go with it. But the average speed under the lower limit was 82 before, and now it’s 85.”

Texas decided to raise its speed limit to 85 mph, albeit on a toll road while lowering the limit on neighboring roads to 55 mph.

[Source: LA Times]

  • Steve Doner

    To the Editor:

    With several states
    increasing speed limits recently, there has predictably been a fair amount of
    discussion and debate on the topic, much of it laced with uninformed claims and
    silly clichés like “speed kills”. Like
    the lies of a politician, most of these claims contain just enough truth, logic
    or emotional appeal to fool many people into listening.

    There are bigger issues
    to tackle in this world, but this is one of the few laws that touch the life of
    nearly every citizen every day. Most of
    us will never be charged with breaking a law, except on the road. We complain about various forms of government
    ineptitude, but we actually feel it on
    a daily basis when we get in our cars and drive on roads with under-posted
    speed limits. What a shame and what a
    great opportunity for politicians to get some easy points with citizens by
    simply requiring that speed limits be based on sound traffic engineering
    principles as they once were before the much-hated 55 limit came along forty or
    so years ago.

    Studies have long shown
    that speed limits have little effect on how fast people actually drive on open roads
    and any traffic engineer, and many state police departments, will explain that
    85th percentile speeds are the proper way to set limits. This is the maximum speed at which 85% of
    traffic actually flows when unencumbered.
    A quick internet search will show that this is widely accepted as the
    best way to set speed limits. The
    National Motorists Association, the Michigan State Police and the Louisiana
    State Police are among those that pop up in a web search.

    So if people drive fast
    anyway, why waste money changing the signs?
    Good question, but there are some important reasons. Artificially low limits do not slow down the
    faster traffic but do cause several types of dysfunction which make the roads
    more dangerous, for example:

    ·
    Speed
    Variance: slower traffic will tend
    to flow at or near the posted limit. When
    limits are too low, the speed differential between the fastest and slowest
    traffic increases. This is a leading cause of road rage, particularly
    when slower traffic does not keep right and yield to faster traffic.

    ·
    Distracted
    Drivers: people multi-task when
    driving does not demand their full attention.
    Dumbed down limits tend to increase distracting activities further
    contributing to impaired drivers and road rage as slower traffic lumbers along
    in the passing lane chit-chatting on the phone, too busy to notice someone
    wants to pass.

    ·
    Increased
    Use of Less-Safe Roads: when a
    shorter or cheaper two-lane route carries the same speed limit as an interstate
    highway fatalities can go up simply because people are not motivate to use the
    safer roads which sometimes carry tolls and are often less direct (but faster
    if speed limits allow it).

    ·
    Punitive
    Speeding Penalties: some
    states, like Georgia and Illinois, have instituted so-called “super-speeder”
    laws. For going 30 over the limit a person can go to prison in
    Illinois. Most of metro Chicago is still posted at 55, so 30 over the
    limit is not unusual when the roads are clear.
    Most reasonable people would agree that 85 is not such an unreasonable
    speed, in modern cars in clear daytime weather, that offenders should go to
    jail. These same roads were posted at 65
    or 70 forty years ago when cars were junk wagons compared to modern vehicles
    with anti-lock brakes, stability control, etc.
    Before 55, Nevada and Montana had no daytime speed limit at all.

    ·
    Loss
    of Respect for All Traffic Laws: when limits are set at 55/65 on interstates,
    the government inadvertently teaches its citizenry that it is clueless about
    establishing proper traffic laws. This
    then leads drivers to disregard limits on roadways where 55/65 may be an
    appropriate speed…including construction zones, etc.

    ·
    Waste
    of Resources on Tickets and Processing: in a busy world and an
    age of runaway government costs why bother will all the ticketing and
    processing costs unless it is necessary to make the roads safe (and it’s not).

    So why do we still have
    crazy-low speed limits on our interstates nearly 20 years after the national
    speed limit was finally lifted? Two big
    reasons:

    ·
    Insurers:
    insurance companies like low speed limits which trigger more violations. The insurance surcharges (for points on
    license) are the primary reason that P&C insurance companies push to
    keep limits low – it enables them to charge higher rates without higher risk –
    it’s all profit. This is true of AAA as
    well. AAA is an insurance company
    pretending to be a motor club and is perhaps the motoring public’s most
    formidable foe.

    ·
    Bureaucracy: during the 55 years states lost federal
    highway funds if they did not enforce the law that even police hated and
    laughed at. As a result, more troopers
    were hired and infrastructure was added to process all the tickets. Now, we have a bloated bureaucracy trying to
    preserve itself and which gladly teams up with the insurance lobby to harass
    and oppress motorists.

    Some have cited the fact
    that fatalities dropped when limits were reduced from 75 to 55 forty or so
    years ago. While true, they never seem
    to mention the fact that limits continued to steadily drop when limits started
    going back up. States which have
    increased limits, by and large, have experienced declines in fatality rates
    because of reduced speed variance and road rage as well as diversion of traffic
    onto safer (and faster) roads. The fatality rate even decreased in
    Montana which for some years had no daytime limit following
    the end of the 55mph national speed limit in 1995.

    One last point should not be
    overlooked – traffic congestion increases when speeds are lower. Heavy
    traffic can only move as fast as the slowest car and the slowest car will be
    going the speed limit. Like water through a hose, you can increase the
    flow rate by using a bigger hose or by increasing the flow rate. Slow
    down the flow of the main line and all the feeders back up. Lower limits
    mean more gridlock. Higher limits allow
    us to get more efficiency out of our existing infrastructure reducing the need
    to widen roads.

    Artificially low limits have nothing
    to do with safety. They are about politics and enrichment of insurers. Please tell the elected representatives that you
    want limits to be set based on the 85th percentile rule, especially
    on interstate highways.

    Steve Doner

    Former Illinois State Chapter
    Coordinator

    National Motorists Association

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